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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  March 1, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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discomfort and swelling. ask your doctor if coolsculpting is right for you and visit today... for your chance to win a free treatment. i'm brianna keilar. soon the white house will hold its briefing in front of cameras, but behind the walls the west wing seems to be falling apart gripped with chaos. among the topics that sarah sanders will face here in a moment, the sudden resignation of communications director hope hicks, the president's anger with attorney general jeff sessions, new revelations about
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the meetings the president's son-in-law took in the white house, the president completely unending his party's agenda on guns. and that's right, one of his cabinets spending spree on furniture. and john kelly told his former staff at the department of home land security this today. >> i miss every one of you every day. truly, six months, last thing i wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life, being secretary of homeland security, but i did something wrong and god punished me i guess. >> a little humor, maybe a little reality there. let's begin at the white house now with kaitlin collins who is standing by for us. hope hicks announcing her resignation less than in hours
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ago, today all eyes are on jared kushner. tell us about what is happening behind the scenes at the white house. >> reporter: that's right, it is a lot going on behind the scenes here. especially with hope hicks one of the president's top aides and closest confidants announcing she is resigning after spending the last three years next to president trump every single step of the way from the campaign until his time here inside the white house. so certainly a significant change coming for the west wing and for the president himself because though there have been a rash of departures, hope hicks is so much more than that because she is so close to the president that she would rarely even leave the west wing if the president was in the oval office because she knew that at any minute he could beck ckocould b with hey, hope. we've seen this with the president's long term body guard who left earlier this year and now hope is leaving.
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jared kushner, ivanka trump's long term future is up for the debate. and it looks like the only few aides left around the president who have been around him for some time are dwindling by the day here. so certainly a lot on the president's plate here. >> and not a great day on wall street. we've seen the stock market down about 500 plus points. this is because of an announcement that the president made. tell us what happened. >> reporter: yeah, very last minute announcement to put it lightly. the president announced that he will impose these tariffs he says starting next week on aluminum and steel, 25% on steel, 10% on aluminum, something that certainly took a lot of people by surprise. as of last night leading up to that announcement, there was a lot of confusion over whether or not the president was actually going to announce it. last night they thought he was. this morning it seemed like they were just going to have a listening session. and then during the hastily
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arranged meeting where they brought reporters in, the president made that announce s announcemeannouncement against the advise of top advise advisers. but the president says he will start introducing the tariffs starting next week. but gijust another scene in chaotic west wing behind me. >> and tell us about the questions today about ethical lines being blurred inside the trump white house involving jared kushner. the "new york times" of course is reporting that kushner's family received -- his family business got about half a billion dollars in loans from two companies right after he met with the heads of those companies at the white house. what was supposed to be in an official capacity and then you're seeing some personal gain afterwards. kushner reportedly discussed giving the co-founder a job within the administration. is there anything else we know about this? >> reporter: that's right, essentially the story is that jared kushner's family real
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estate company is benefiting after he meets with the heads of these other companies here at the white house in his official capacity as a senior adviser and special assistant to the president and one of those that you just mentioned that was up for a job is joshua harris, he is founder of the apollo global management group. and he was a contender for a white house job early last year, met several times with jared kushner and when that job didn't pan out later on in the year, his company apollo global management led to the kushner family real estate company $184 million. so quite a sizable loan. much larger than what the company usually lends to people. but just another story in a string of stories that raise the questions of jared kushner's ability to continue to work in this white house. >> all right. thank you. i want to bring in jesse druck
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empt drucker, he broke this story. what more do we know and also how problem plat tiatic is this? >> there are serious questions obviously about what implications there might be for potential violations of the ethics regulations. basically the regulations have language about federal employees if they have certain relati relationshi relationships, business relationships, they are precluded from doing certain transactions and taking part in certain government decisions on particular matters involving people interacting with the government. and one of the people we spoke to was former office of the head of government ethics basically took the position that by virtue of jared kushner's company in gosh yaling a loan with negotiaa loan with apapollo, that put kushner in what is called a covered relationship with josh
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harris. and his position was that we really don't know what was said in these meetings that he had with harris at the white house and if jared kushner was miss clie his client, he would have advised him don't take the meeting because you will be in danger depending on the types of things that were discussed of potentially violating the regulations. >> were the different parties here aware that they were crossing potentially lines? >> we really don't know. we asked the white house or we asked mr. kushner's lawyer whether he sought any ethics advice to having meetings with both josh harris and also mike c on orbat at citigroup because they the gave kushner companies a loan last year after meeting with jared kushner in the white house and they declined to respond to the question. >> jesse drucker, thank you sir. i want to discuss this more with
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former director of the office of government ethics, walter schaub with us now. he resigned from his post last year after clashing with the trump white house. so that is the question. were they aware that there was some sort of ethical problem here? i guess the question especially with them not responding to the question as jesse just told us, should there have been an awareness on the part of all of the parties, not just jared kushner, but those who were lending money to his family's business? >> to answer that, let's step back and look at it from the 10,000 foot level. you have an assistant to the president sitting across the table from bankers that his cash strapped family is pleading with for a gigantic loan. there is no situation in which that makes any common sense or is ethical in any sense of the word. is it strictly a violation? i think we don't quite know all
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of the facts as jesse pointed out. we certainly don't know what they discussed in the meeting. there has also been a lot of mystery and confuse surrounding jared kushner because he has had to revise his financial disclosure report and his securities clearance for him so many times. one of the revisions that he did to his financial disclosure report was to reveal that he forgot to quit some of the outside positions that he held with the kushner families various companies until sometime in may 2017. which means while he is sitting across the table from these individuals, he is still an officer of some of these companies. now, whether the companies were the ones that were specifically the parties to these loans, at least on the face of their names, it appears they may not have been. but i have to admit, i don't fully understand all of the interlocking relationships between the various kushner companies. and so i can't say with any certainty that he wasn't involved in any of the companies
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that were getting the loans. >> so even just discussing this business inside of the white house, is that something that raises a red flag for you, supposed to be with apollo global management and also this advisory position that he was getting from one of the founders of apollo. but that said, is it problematic ethically that this was a meeting happening inside the white house or would it have mattered if it was outside the white house? >> it would have been bad either way if he was meeting in his official capacity. but the fact that it is in the white house just adds all of that much more weight to his authority as an assistant to the president who can influence their lives. there are two different sets of rules. one is criminal, one is administrative. it is probably not criminal unless they were working on a matter that could actually affect his companies and which he still had a financial interest. but there are non-criminal ethics rules that matter. the standard of conduct that say you should recuse whenever
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participating in a matter like this can create an appearance that you have lost your impartiality. and people can quible over the technical reading of covered relationship and whether it apply, but there is a catch-all that certainly did apply here and in any other white house, they would certainly have had him recuse. it is rule that is easy to enforce. a person can always say i was unaware, i didn't know. but come on here, this is as common sense ethics as it gets. you don't do this. >> also there are so many facetses to this, one being that there was potentially a job on the table. if there is a job on the table, there is a question of, oh, is this pay to play perhaps. what kind of red flags does it raise? >> at minimum, an optics problem. we have no evidence that he actually said give me this loan and you'll get the business. i seriously doubt he did that. but the optics are terrible. and if you care about government
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ethics and you understand that as a white house official you are setting an example for the other 2.7 million federal employees who work for the white house through the various agencies and the executive branch, you don't go and sit across from a meeting with a guy that you are potentially offering a position while your family's companies in which you still have an investment and maybe be or maybe not still have a position are trying to get massive hundred million dollar loans from. >> it is really interesting to matter your perspective. thank you so much. and coming up, are former trump loyalists leaving the president more and more isolated? the latest a spat with jeff sessions. sessions has now been seen dining out with the man overseeing the russia investigation, rod rosenstein. we'll discuss that next. and moments from now, the white house press briefing. you can see we're ready for it. this is taking place here in just a few moments as the dow
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has dropped over 500 points since the president's announcement on steel tariffs. we'll bring that briefing to you live.
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we do have breaking news. as you can see, the markets are taking a tumble down more than 500 points because of an announcement the president made this afternoon. here with us now is richard quest, cnn money editor at large and host of "quest means business." richard, walk us through what is happening here. >> just look at that chart because that tells the story of the day. now, the market had been a little bit up and down, it really was not sure which way it
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wanted to go. and then look at that, just around 12:30 as the president announced in a very casual way, not a formal announcement, he is in the white house, he is with the steel makers, and he just casually let slip that next week they will be introducing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports and the market literally goes sharply lower. and that has been the story of the whole afternoon. and the reason is people are now seriously worried about the tit for tat. what is going to be the response of countries like india or china or those that are directly affected by those steel tariffs. you see the problem we have got is that he announced tariffs with no details. he litterally pulled the pin ou of the grenade, but hasn't told us where it is going or how it
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will explode or who would be affected. or what the extent of it will be. and as a result the market is saying this is a protectionist move and they are seriously concerned. >> yeah, as they worry maybe this leads to a trade war. we'll see if that tit for tat you are describing maphappens. richard quest, thank you. president trump is now fuming after his attorney general jeff sessions pushed back on the president's latest insult calling sessions' handling into an investigation into alleged surveillance abuses disgraceful. cnn captured this exclusive video of sessions and the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, that would be the man overseeing the special counsel robert mueller's team. so this video you can see they are leaving the justice department, they end up walking down the street. at one point sessions actually pumps his fist in the air and later axios snapped pictures of them dining at a fancy washington restaurant.
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this right near the trump international hotel not too far from the doj. it is significant to see them together because rosenstein is overseeing the special counsel investigation into russian election meddling now that sessions months and months ago recused himself from doing so. and then the "washington post" reports that president trump's public shaming of sessions over that recusal is now part of special counsel mueller's investigation. joining me now, knee a malik came henderson and as well as joseph marina, he led national security prosecutions. and olivia newtsy from new york magazine. i mean, this is pretty -- it is so is interesting to see this happening. what is your reaction? >> under a normal administration, right, this would be nothing. it would be the attorney general, deputy attorney general out having a meal. but under these circumstances, it feels like it is a little low key shade, right?
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sessions basically rebuking the president who has been so tough on him over the last many months because of his recusal from the russia investigation. so it seems to be a continuation of sessions pushing back on that tweet that trump released earlier this week and essentially saying, you know, the buck stops here and he is not going anywhere, right? and so thattic is t i think is context. who would have thought that what seem to be undercover video of sessions dining with staffers. so, yeah, that is the town we're in. >> joe, what do you think? >> it is fascinating seeing this spat sort of uncovered in real time. from a -- i'll defer to you on the political ramifications, but from a legal perspective, attorney general sessions is absolutely correct in how he is handling in robe. i think most in the legal industry would agree that aside from your feel about senator sessions politics, as attorney general, he has taken his
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position seriously, he respects the rule of law, and the way he is referring the idea of if there are inquiries about how doj attorneys and fbi agents handled the fisa process, it should be looked at by the inspector general. that is exactly the way it is supposed to play out. and in the case of in, michael horowitz is a professional. i worked with him for years. he is a straight shooter, nonpartisan. and if anyone will handle this properly, it is mr. horowitz. >> i wonder what you think, olivia, because we know that if you are the attorney general, you can just have a meal in your office, you probable even have a nice area where you could have a private meal. >> 31,000 dining room set. >> apparently ben carson is saying no, he doesn't want that expensive dining set. not having to do with this. but when you think about that, do you think that this is a purposeful shade?
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>> i would like to believe that it is a purposeful shade because it is so hilarious. and this is a tabloid president and you have to remember donald trump i don't think is affected by traditional journalism the same way that most politicians in washington are. but i think something that would really get to him would be seeing undercover photos as you said of a dinner that he was likely not invited to and probably wouldn't have attended if he was. we know that he only really eats at his own restaurant here when he leaves the white house. but i think that this is something where if he turns on cnn or he looks at the paper tomorrow and he sees photos of this, i think it would really get to him and would further contribute to this whole idea that he is under establishing. >> if he had eaten at the trump hotel, we wouldn't even have to ask the question if it was shade. a lot more to talk about, a lot of chaos in the west wing including the former comes directors talking about a culture of fear inside the white. we'll discuss that next. for your heart...
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that grow with your business. at&t, not so much. get internet on our gig-speed network and add voice and tv for $34.90 more per month. call 1-800-501-6000. i think it is the chief of staff. i think there is a culture of fear inside the white house. people are afraid to talk to each other. morale is terrible. and the reason is that the rule by fear and in-ttimidation does not work in a civilian environment. so it is messed up. it will be up to the president to figure out if he wants to fix it or not. i predict more departures. i hold the white house chief staff accountable because he had the information represented to porter. and i don't understand why he would allow hope to date porter if he has that information. >> how can he keep her from dating -- >> my point is, come on, he had
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the information. he tried to cover up the information. he tried to get other people inside the white house to cover up the information for him. >> you believe kelly covered up the information about -- >> i do. that is the former communications director, only for 11 days, but still anthony scaramucci talking about the chaos inside of the white house. my panel back with me now. so it's interesting to hear him describe that and i wonder if that sort of hues to what you have heard about what is going on interests the west wing. >> i think that is certainly one interpretation, that it is all kelly's fault and kelly has ruled with an iron fist, blocking some people like jared kushner, people like ivanka access to the white house. but listen, that is what a lot of people thought this white house needed, right, some sense of order, some sense of discipline. and this military guy some people thought was the way to get it. but the knives are clearly out to kelly nat point.
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and this idea of does he survive, right. i mean kauushner, he obviously blocked him in terms of the downgrading of security clearance. and jared kushner has always sort of been the crown prince of this white house. and what happens? i don't think anybody knows how this plays out. kelly seemed to be on thin ice in the wake of the porter thing. whether or not he is on thinner ice at this point, who knows. >> olivia, you did a very good profile on hope hicks in 2016, right? for gq magazine. you've continued to report on her. when you look at her departure, i mean there has been a question of the timing. i know that your reporting has been that this was a departure she had actually considered for some time. keeping that in mind, what does it mean for someone who a lot of people thought she'll be one of the last people standing to go? >> well, in the wake of the porter controversy and his exit, there were a lot of stories
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about i don't know kelly beijoh with hope hicks and there is a still a lack of clarity about who exactly drafted the statement attributed to john kelly that initially defended porter prettying a agrees safely when the first story take ka out. >> was it hope hicks? >> there was reporting that it was. i have four or five white house officials who confirmed that she was in the room when it was dictated by kelly, but not drafted by hope hicks. but that was an early draft of that statement. it is unclear to me anyway how much it changed from that early draft. but with hope hicks gone, i think donald trump -- i mean, we've been seeing donald trump in a good state comparatively to how he might feel without hope hicks there. she is a familiar presence in a place that he is uncomfortable, in a city where he is uncomfortable. this is a man of has been bit. he lived in the same building, in the same city for years and years.been bit. he lived in the same building, in the same city for years and years.
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he goes to mar-a-lago almost every weekend. he has maintained a lot of habits that he had as a civilian businessman in the white house. and without her there, i think it will be very interesting to see how it affects his mood in ways that we could all observe. >> and i want to ask you, joe, if your experience at doj and in government about jared kushner, so you have the president's son-in-law who also is now according to the "new york times" facing a lot of scrutiny for something else, which is that he met with the founder of apollo global management one of the founders and this was in an official capacity at the white house. and then low and be hold right after this, the kushner family business is getting big money. after this, the kushner family business is getting big money. how problematic is that? >> it is part of an overall person when you mix public
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service with private backgrounds. and mueller has said he will follow the facts wherever they into, and whoever they go, to whether low level campaign aide or on members of the trump family. so i think anyone has to be concerned. this is serious business and the special counsel shows no indication of going away. >> and stand by for me. we that had 2:00 white house briefing has become the 2:30 white house briefing. we're hoping it at least happens today and we're thinking that it is going to. which is good news. so we're watching the room there. the press secretary sarah sanders is going to take the podium very soon. we'll bring that to you plus president trump stunning his own party at a round table on guns that you saw live right here on cnn. so has he backed republicans in to a corner or not? stay with us. they appear out of nowhere.
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president trump stunned members of his own party and also democrats i said say as well during a bipartisan meeting broadcast live from the white house where he broke with gop orthodoxy and embraced gun laws. democrats say they left that meeting feeling optimistic. conservative reaction was swift though. take a look at the headline on breitbart, it reads trump the gun grabber cedes dems wish list. so here is a question worth asking? in that one buy meeting, did he up end the republicaned ed agen? let's watch some key moments. >> we have to do something about it. we have to act. we talked about the bump stock issue. we can do that with an executive order. i'll essentially write it out. >> i want to bring us back to the issue of background checks because i think there is real opportunity. >> i agree. you have to be very, very powerful on background checks. don't be shy. >> if all we end up doing is the
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stuff that the gun industry supports, then this isn't worth it. >> you have a different president. nra are great patriots. they love our country.t doesn'to agree on everything. doesn't make sense that i can wait until i'm 21 to get a hand gun, but i can get a rifle at 18. you're afraid of the nra. >> you underestimate the power of the gun lobby. >> they have great power over you people. they have less power over me. i don't need it. what do i need? i want a very strong counter punch. >> allow due process, the ability to go to court, obtain an order and collect not only the firearms, but any webs in the position that -- >> or take the firearms first and then go to court. i like taking the guns early. really be nice to create something that is beautiful, that works. i like a merger because i think a merger works out better.
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you can add that to the bill. if you can add what you have also. and you think you can. into the bill. can you do that? add and subtract to it. put it for a vote. i'm not even worried about 60 votes. very strong on mentally ill. >> maybe you can show leadership about all the violence we have out of hole wrood alywood and a videos. you watch fox news like i do, and every night you see all of these films about everybody being blown up. >> i mean, wow. that was amazing to watch and even more amazing to watch kind of all of the really most interesting starts stuck together like that. did the president up end the gop agenda? i think that is really the question. in the end you wonder does he just capitulate on some of these things or is he serious when he is even disagreeing with his own
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vice president? >> it is not even clear that the gop had a gun agenda going into this. there was the fix n.i.c.s. bill. it looks like some of our folks are reporting that mitch mcconnell is reporting that there will be no gun vote next week. so it is not clear. this was great television, sort of a bookend or echo of what we saw on the daca debate. and we know what happened after the daca debate. pretty much nothing even as the president was on all sorts of sides of that issue and finally coming down on a certain place. but yeah, it was a potpourri of everything. >> but even saying that where he is talking about take the guns and due process later. i mean, wow that is just -- >> yeah, if you think about the nra last week at cpac basically saying it is the democrats who are the gun grabbers, who want to confiscate everybody's guns and there is a republican president essentially saying do away with due process, do away with laws that govern this kind of stuff and take away people's
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second amendment rights. >> he said to -- well, really all the lawmakers there, but really it would have been republicans where he said you're afraid of the nra. the nra has a lot of power over you folks not over me so much. however, a lot of diehard supporters of president trump's are diehard supporters of the nra, are very much in line with what the nra believes. and they vote on that issue. so neighbor thmaybe they do havr the president. >> you would think they would because they are in lock step with the nra, they have very hard and fast beliefs in turn of gun ownership. they think it is a slippery slope. so to me this seemed like a lot of theater. the president probably thought he was going to get great reviews in the way that he did after the daca bipartisan session, but here it just seemed to be all over the place and leaving people particularly conservative scratching their heads, but also locked into what
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they were going to do which is not much of anything. >> as understand, mitch mcconnell said no vote next week. all right. thank you so much. next, secretary of housing and urban development ben carson says he is canceling the order for a $31,000 dining set for his office. we'll have his response to accusations of lavish spending and i'll speak live with an interior designer about this. smile dad. i take medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. but they might not be enough to protect my heart. adding bayer aspirin can further reduce the risk of another heart attack. because my second chance matters. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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all stop and really consider a little more often. the president and first lady will also be attending reverend graham's funeral in north carolina tomorrow. i'd like to highlight some positive important work the house did on tuesday by passing hr 1865. this bill empowers federal, state and local process duty tors to hold websites accountable for assuming the sale of sex trafficking victimss to hold websites accountable for assuming the sale of sex trafficking victims. the president and ivanka trump met with survivors and victims advocates here at the white house. he made it clear that this administration will fight to hold sex traffickers accountable and to ensure survivor s have te support they need. this bill is annu important ste forward and the white house appreciates the house taking action on a bipartisan basis. earlier this week i mentioned that we would begin highlighting the historic obstruction of senate democrats an issue that threatens the safety and security of the american people. as a reminder, compared to the four previous administrations, this senate has confirmed the
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fewest nominees. half of the president's highly qualified nominees are still co. today 276 days ago, kevin was nom natud nominated for u.s. and border protection. he would help safe guard american borders keeping terrorists and their weapons out of our nation. kevin should be preventing terrorists and contra band from entering the nation yet he is still awaiting senate confirmation. senator schumer should stop putting the safety and security of the american people at risk and immediately confirm him. and with that, i will take your questions. john. >> the president announced at the meeting a while ago tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that would take effect next week. he announced it even though the fine details have not been worked out yet about what countries will be involved,
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whether there are any exemptions. the dow is down about 500 points as a result of there. some of our allies including canada are saying the actions are unacceptable. why did the president announce them now particularly before the details have even been worked out? >> the president is announcing his intent to sign those actions next week. we're not going to get into anymore details until the details are finalized. but that is what he intends to do on nenext weekend. >> is he concerned about the results or the effects that his announcement has had so far? >> the president is concerned about the men and women of this country who have been forgotten about, the industries that our country was founded and built on, and this shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody, this is something frankly the president has been talking about for decades. certainly something he talked about regularly on the campaign trail and something that he is delivering on making that clear today and those details and the actual announcement and
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signinging will take place sometime next week. >> president often talks about stock market reaction. is he surprised to see the market down after making this announcement without explanation on tariffs? and do you have any detail on why he decided to announce it today? it seemed kind of sudden when we were called in for that event, it wasn't something on our necessarily public schedule. >> this is something again that the president has been talking about for a long time. it is not a surprise. and we'll continue doing what we can to protect american workers. that was something that the president committed to during the campaign. this is something that he feels is vitally important. [ inaudible question ] >> that part is new and he is nountszi announcing his intent and we'll have more details on that. >> did he make that decision today? >> again, this is something the president has wanted to do for quite some sometime. >> why was it a surprise to the
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press gathered there? it wasn't on the schedule. >> i don't think that the president always tells you guys everything first, but it is certainly something that he has been talking about for a long time. [ inaudible question ] >> these are conversations that the president has been having for a long time. he has made his intentions very clear to the team at the white house. i don't think it came as a surprise to anybody here. >> 10% and 25%, could that change? >> i think that is the intent. but until the details are finalized, i won't get in to anymore specifics right now. >> a couple questions for you. first r first, public scrutiny over the inspector general for spending on travel and ben carson the $31,000 dining set. the president talked about in the campaign going to drain the swamp. so does he plan on draining some of his staff? >> in terms of if you are asking
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if he is getting rid of anyone on the cabinet, i'm not aware that that is taking place. at any point right now to be clear on secretary carson, the order that you referenced was canceled. they are looking for another option that is much more responsible with taxpayer dollars. >> you've said a number of times that when the president loses confidence in a member of the cabinet, he tells us that. so he has confidence in these people. so can you explain why the president has confidence in some of these members of this cabinet, carson and zinke, numerous investigations in to some of their spending. so why do they have the president's confidence? >> look, starting with the v.a. the president is glad for the job that he has been doing in reforming the v.a., modernizing the v.a., a lot of the movements that they have had there. and he supports him in those efforts. but also we have been reviewing
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these actions and making sure that we're being very responsible with taxpayer dollars. this is something that the president has asked all of his team to go back and look at. >> and another point on guns. senator mcconnell said that next week the senate would not be moving forward with the fix n.i.c.s. legislation and cornyn said that they would be discussing human trafficking, not gun legislation. after yesterday's session, it seems that republicans are running away from what the president wanted, a quick solution -- a quick resolution on this front. why doesn't the president have the clout on capitol hill with congress, why can't he seem to get congress to bend to his will? >> i don't think necessarily it is about bending to his will, i think it is an ongoing discussion about the best pieces of legislation that they can put forward. yesterday was certainly an important part of that. the president has met with a number of stakeholders next week he will also be meeting with
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members of the video game industry to see what they can do on that front as well. this is going to be an ongoing process and something that we don't expect to happen overnight. but something that we'll continue to be engaged in and continue to look for the best ways possible to make sure we're doing everything we can to protect schools across the country. >> does the president want to get rid of his attorney general? >> not that i know of. >> and how about jared kushner? >> no. >> is jared kushner becoming a distraction giving all the controversies that he has been at the center of? >> jared is still a valued member of the administration and he will continue to focus on the work that he has been doing. and we'll continue pushing forward on that front as well. >> are there any concerns about conflict of interest given those meetings that he had with companies that gave his family business millions of dollars in loans? >> i would refer you to the statement that was put out by his attorney. >> but the appearance? >> again, i would have to refer you to the statement pout out b
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his attorney. >> back to the tariffs. is the president concerned about the impact this may have on america's allies like canada, uk, eu? >> the president's biggest concern is making sure that we're doing everything we can to protect american workers. and 245what was what his announcement on his intentions next week are specifically geared towards. this isn't something that he has shied away from or something that he hasn't spoken about regularly and often, or something that he will stop talking about at any point soon. blake. >> is there retaliation -- is the president concerned about any retaliation from any of the countries that may be impacted. >> >> not thnot that i'm aware. >> and i wanted to ask you about a comments and get your reaction to ben sasse put out a statement in regard to the tariffs, he said the president is proposing a massive tax increase on american families, protectionism is weak, not strong.
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and he concluded by writing you'd expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly republican one. do you have a comment on that? >> i don't know that the president will or should ever apologize for protecting american workers. and certainly not to senator sasse. >> you say you won't be getting into details at this point. so if there are details to get in to, should we read into it that there will be exemptions for certain countries? >> again, i'm not going to get ahead of the final details that will be put out next week. at this point there is no additional information to share as this is all being finalized. >> has the president made up in his mind which countries he might goexempt or is considerin? >> again, i don't have anything further to add. we're a little bit tight, so i'm
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going to keep moving. jordan. >> yesterday was the deadline for the white house chief of staff to reply to his questions about security clearances at the white house. was that request met, did the chief of staff send a reply to chairman gowdy? >> we're having conversations with the committee and we'll continue working with them. and i can't go any further than that at this point. >> do you think that you might -- >> again, we're in regular conversations with them and we'll continue working with them. >> this week the president expressed fris trags wiustratio attorney general and the department of justice as it relate to the process to look into fisa abuses. what would the president like to see done differently? >> look, the president has made clear that he has a lot of concerns like you said with the current fisa process. nothing makes the problems of fisa cleaner than what was outlined in both the republican and the democrat memos. the fbi used political campaign material to get a warrant to spy on american citizens. they failed to disclose to the judge that the dossier was
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founded by the clinton campaign and dnc even as it was being used to spy on people associated with the trump campaign. obviously that alone shows us that the process needs to looked at closely and reform to make sure that we're doing everything we can it protect the privacy of american citizens. >> as it related to that tweet, could you elaborate on the relationship between the president and the attorney general? does president trump believe his attorney general is disgraceful? >> the president has made his frustrations very clear. i don't have anything else to add. >> what was the president's reaction to what the mayor of oakland, california did last weekend when she tipped off residents that there was an imminent immigration raid coming? does he feel that the mayor broke the law and now the justice department is looking into it? >> i think it is outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authority and certainly put them in danger by making a move such as that and that is currently under review by the department of justice. i don't have anything else to
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add. >> two for you. first, i know you're averse to providing details about the tariff 34r57tea tariff plan. does the president plan to couple that with any impact on say the auto industry? >> again, i don't have anything to add. >> did you take note of president putin's speech and do you have a reaction to his rhetoric and these invincible weapons? >> yes, president putin has confirmed what the united states government has known all along, which russia has denied. russia has been developing destabilizing weapon systems for over a decade in direct violation of its treaty obligations. president trump understands the threats facing america and our allies in this century and is determined to protect our homeland and preserve peace through strength. u.s. defense capabilities are and will remain second to none. and now because of the new defense budget of $700 billion, our military will be far stronger than ever. as the president's new clear posture review made clear,
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america is moving forward to modernize our nuclear arsenal and ensure our capabilities are unmatched. john. >> two short questions. first, can you confirm or deny that the president has made a decision to go for the outside, successor to home hicks as communications director, rather than promote from within? >> the decision on that hasn't been made. i don't have a personnel announcement. >> the other thing is that the president has a good relationship with senators manchin of west virginia and toomey of pennsylvania. has he been in touch with either of them to discuss further the proposed universal gun ban that has been floated around since last week? >> i know they were both part -- attended the meeting earlier this week. the president also spoke i believe with senator toomey earlier today. but has not seen that final
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legislation. those discussions are still ongoing. so i can't say where we fall in position on that piece of legislation at this point. but he is continuing to have conversations and will continue to be engaged with members of congress across the board. francesca. >> attorney general jeff sessions was due to be at the white house today for the opoid summit. did the president have an opportunity to speak to him while he was there? >> not that i'm aware of. >> and moving on to gun violence prevention, the president said yesterday that he would sign a bill and he said i will call whoever heyou want me to if i le what you're doing. if congress passes a bill that does deal with school safety, gun violence, is the president committed to signing whatever they pass? >> the president is not going to unilaterally say without seeing that piece of legislation. but he does want congress to come together and put forward a piece of legislation that addresses